Natural Gas Fireplaces - Product Overview

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With so many styles of natural gas fireplaces and venting options available, there are almost no limits to where you can install one. You can create a warm ambiance or a bold statement with a natural gas fireplace almost anywhere in your home. Think about adding one to your kitchen renovation, the master bedroom or the family recreation room in the basement.

Natural gas fireplaces have a wide variety of design styles, venting options and installation possibilities available.

There are three basic types of natural gas fireplaces.

Natural gas inserts:   

  • Natural gas inserts fit into existing masonry fireplaces and they are vented through the existing chimney.

  • There are a variety of efficient heaters feature fans and thermostat controls.

  • With many designs and styles of gas inserts available there is one to suit your décor and existing fireplace mantel or surround perfectly

Free standing natural gas fireplaces:

  • The name of this attractive and popular natural gas fireplace unit says it all – it is free standing; not surrounded by a hearth or built into a wall.

  • Free standing natural gas fireplaces can look similar to a traditional wood stove.

  • Venting for a freestanding unit is flexible, you can choose to vent it through an existing chimney or through a roof or a wall.

  • With such flexibility of venting, freestanding units can be installed almost anywhere in your home and are particularly popular for heating additions and basement living areas

  • With the top and side surfaces exposed, free standing units are more effective at supplying heat to a room.

Zero-clearance natural gas fireplace:

  • The name of this fireplace describes its main attributes clearly; they can be installed with zero-clearance to wall elements. This means no space is required between the unit and building materials such as wood or wall boards.

  • Direct venting is often used for zero-clearance natural gas fireplaces (see Direct Venting below for details).

Venting 101 – A primer on removing combustion gases from your natural gas fireplace to the outdoors

Good news. There is a wide variety of venting options for natural gas fireplaces. This means you have freedom to choose exactly what type of fireplace you want (see above) and putting it almost anywhere without worrying about linking up to an existing chimney.

Chimney venting
This venting style takes advantage of the fact that hot air rises up a vertical chimney. These units have a draft hood* that requires extra air from your home to isolate the burner from outside pressure fluctuations caused by wind effects. Natural draft fireplaces typically use B-vent** or, in an existing chimney, an approved metal liner that includes a B-vent or flexible metal liner.

* Draft Hood/Draft Diverter:
A mechanism built into an appliance or made a part of the flue or vent connector from an appliance, which is designed to reduce wind effects and prevent back draft.

** B-vent: 
A type of metal vent that draws combustion air from inside the home and vents combustion exhaust to the outdoors.

Direct Venting

This venting style takes outdoor air in through one pipe to the firebox while combustion gases are taken outside through another. The venting pipes can be straight through an outside wall or they may extend for a limited distance horizontally or vertically through the house. Unlike natural draft venting no air from your home is used for combustion which makes this venting option more energy efficient.

Power Venting
Power venting uses an electrical fan to remove combustion gases from the fireplace. This provide a variety of venting options - horizontally, vertically or a combination of both. Because power venting controls the venting process less heated air is used compared to chimney venting.

More natural gas features and options

Electronic ignition or continuous pilot light
A pilot light ignites the main burner of a natural gas fireplace. One option is to have a continuous or standing pilot. The other option is to have an intermittent pilot that is turned off and on by a thermostat or homeowner control. The benefit of choosing a continuous pilot light is that your fireplace will function and warm your home even if there is a power outage. Intermittent pilot ignition systems can also operate without grid power if they are equipped with a battery backup.

Variable-setting controls and thermostats
A variable-setting control gives you the freedom to adjust how much heat comes out of your fireplace. This feature, also known as ‘turndown’ enables you to maintain a comfortable temperature in your room while still enjoying the look of glowing embers and flickering flames. A benefit of a variable-setting control is more comfort for you and your family. 

An automatic thermostat control keeps the room temperature at a constant level by controlling how much or little heat comes from your fireplace.

Fireplace fans
Most natural gas fireplaces have a ‘heat exchanger’ that circulates heat by convection. Some models also have a circulating air fan to increase the amount of convective heat supplied by the fireplace. There are also variable-speed fireplace fans which allow control of air flow from the fireplace.